Puffiest 'Puffy' jacket of all time launched this week by Patagonia

Move over Michelin Man, a new puffy character is in town. The Encapsil Down Belay Parka from Patagonia has a heretofore unheard of 1,000-fill insulation rating to add significant warmth.

GearJunkie got the scoop on this obese down innovation, the first mainstream mountaineering parka to get a 1,000-fill insulation rating. (Translation: Super light, extra fluffy, extra warm.)

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Puffiest ever built?

We collaborated with Outside magazine today to unveil a review of the Encapsil Down Belay Parka. Read the whole story here.

In short, the parka is a five-years-in-the-making project run by Patagonia’s head of R&D, Randy Harward. He was on a quest to build the “best down parka ever made” with the Encapsil.

Encapsil Down Belay Parka.jpg

The author in side profile, testing the parka in northern Minnesota

It took quite the effort, including creating new ways to make goose down more puffy and more fine. The company even acquired a major stake in a Texas “advanced materials” company, AeonClad Coatings, to get the lab machines needed to manipulate down on a molecular level.

Yep, mad science from good-vibes Patagonia. Indeed, radio waves, plasma chambers, and “shifted” molecular structures are involved. The result is finer plumes of goose down that are stronger, more insulating, as well as resistant to water.

We tested the parka under a non-disclosure agreement (top secret stuff!) over the winter, including in January on Minnesota’s icy North Shore. You can read all the results from the big test on the Outside article here. But, in brief, most of Patagonia’s claims came true when we pushed this parka to limits in the cold.

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Climbing helmet nests under massive puffy hood

The Encapsil Down Belay Parka from Patagonia debuts this week for $699. Zip one on if you’re looking for the warmest winter wear this side of a high-altitude mountaineering suit.

—Stephen Regenold

Posted by Phil Good - 02/28/2013 05:43 PM

A critical question is “What is the down source?”
Is it live plucked, foie gras geese? Recycled synthetics?

Posted by Jason Matthews - 02/28/2013 06:09 PM

“it’s no rain coat”….totally lame review! A jacket this expensive you should at least try it out under its intended usage. Nobody wears just a tshirt and a giant down jacket while working or playing in temperatures that would require such a jacket…poor journalism and a worthless review

Posted by Editor - 02/28/2013 06:22 PM

Jason, this is not a “review” per se. We had an early-release version of the jacket in hand for a total of about 48 hours this winter for a quick look/test then had to ship it back to the company. We put it through some paces, and it performed as it was advertised. But we certainly did not do a full review. Watch for a thorough review later this year.

Posted by Jason Matthews - 02/28/2013 06:31 PM

Not trying to split hairs here, but the article says, “You can read all the results from the big test on the Outside article here. But, in brief, most of Patagonia’s big claims came true when we pushed this parka to limits in the cold.”….so was it a quick look as you replied, or a big test that pushed the product to the limit as the article states?

Posted by Eric - 02/28/2013 07:44 PM

I have definitely seen puffier jackets.

Posted by Editor - 02/28/2013 09:11 PM

No worries, Jason. I was addressing the soaking of the jacket arm part, detailed in the Outside article, as the “limits pushed.” Soaked it under a faucet to test the water repellant down and went outside in the cold to see what would happen. Just a quick part of the test. But the down reacted positively (re-puffing up as it dried). Again, this article was meant to introduce a product and offer some first impressions, not yet recommend it for Gasherbrum II.

Posted by Tristam Douglas - 03/01/2013 03:25 AM

No doubt this is a great jacket but the price is rather stomach churning. I do not care for the marketing. I see no reason why they have to invent jargon for techniques that have been used in the construction of box wall baffle jackets for years. The water restance is a good thing but who takes a down jacket out in the serious wet? It would be too warm! I’ll stick with PHD. 900 EU fill customization and very reasonably priced.

Posted by Jon Davis - 03/02/2013 12:47 PM

No doubt this is designed for the “pro” crowd ($600+ for a jacket is indeed pretty stiff), but innovation never hurt anybody. Especially when more-affordable trickle-down products reach us regular types. When it comes to gear, lighter is almost always better. Interesting piece.

Posted by Ryan Stefani - 03/02/2013 04:17 PM

Awesome! I can’t wait to see something like this in the real world. Hopefully, the price comes down from exum/expedition-level-prices.

On another note, I would assume most of the readers understood the point of this article and they, like me, are excited to see a preview of this. Or, put another way, I don’t think the non-trolls of the internet would call this article lame.

Posted by Phil Good - 03/06/2013 07:22 PM

Update: the down is not sourced from force-fed or live-plucked geese. What a relief.

Posted by north face outlet - 09/22/2013 09:15 PM

Great quality,, fit and color. Use on bike rides in temperatures between 40-50 and kept warm. front also provides some wind resistance. http://www.northfacejacketsweb.com/

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